Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Nansen Refugee Award?

The Nansen Refugee Award is presented every year to an individual or organisation who has dedicated their time to help people forcibly displaced from their homes.

The Award is named after Fritdjof Nansen, Norwegian explorer and humanitarian. Through its recipients, the Nansen Refugee Award aims to showcase Nansen’s values of perseverance and commitment in the face of adversity.

Who was Fridtjof Nansen?

Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who served as the first High Commissioner for Refugees at the League of Nations. The legacy of his work for the aid and protection of displaced persons is still present in the UN system today.

When was the Nansen Refugee Award instituted?

The first Nansen Refugee award ceremony took place in 1954, honoring Eleanor Roosevelt as the recipient.


Who can be nominated for the award?

Please visit our Nominate page.


Are runners-up recognised?

Since 2017 UNHCR now recognises five runners-up, each from a different global region, in addition to the main Award winner.

The Winner

How is the winner honoured?

Every year the winner is honoured at a dignified ceremony in Geneva in front of an audience from across the globe.

The winner also receives USD 150,000 prize money which is used to further their work through a specific project designed with the support of UNHCR staff.

When will the winner be announced?

Each year the winner is announced in the month of September, ahead of the ceremony in October.

The ceremony

Where and when does the ceremony take place?

The official ceremony presided over by the High Commissioner for Refugees is held annually in October in Geneva, Switzerland, the world's humanitarian capital.

Can I attend the Nansen Refugee Award ceremony?

Unfortunately, the event is not open to the general public. However, public broadcasts of the ceremony take place in tandem.


Are members of the media allowed to attend the ceremony?

Yes, media are welcome to attend the event. Journalists should contact the Nansen Refugee Award Secretariat beforehand to gain entry, and will be be accredited upon arrival at the venue. Please note that possible restrictions, including on recording, photography, and copyright, may apply.

I am working on a feature article/broadcast story. How do I obtain an interview with the appropriate person?

Please contact the Nansen Refugee Award Secretariat at for further information.

Is there a media package?

Yes. Please contact the Nansen Refugee Award Secretariat at for further information.

Contact us

Our address:
Nansen Committee Secretariat
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt


Connect with us
Use the hashtag #NansenAward to share stories, videos, articles and keep up to date with the latest news.


How can I partner with the Nansen Refugee Award?

Thank you for your interest in supporting the Nansen Refugee Award program. Please contact the Nansen Refugee Award Secretariat at for further information.

Our current partners: